This is an ancient Italian recipe.

When the hunter had a bad day and did not bring anything home to eat, something had to be cooked nonetheless.

So other meat were used and folded in small parcels to mimic small birds: hence the runaway birds.

This is my father version:

For six serving:
One chicken breast
six anchovy
six slices of Italian pancetta (or one slice of bacon)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot (minced)
1 fresh chili pepper (minced)
Salt to taste
1 glass of white wine

You will also need kitchen twine or toothpicks.

How to do it:

Slice the chicken breast in fillets (or buy chicken breast fillets. That’s what the lazy writer does. My dad slices: perhaps that may be the reason why I am always penniless and he is not).

Put an anchovy in each. Fold the fillet. (I would roll it. My father prepares a tiny package)

Put the bird in a slice of pancetta. Italian pancetta is round. If you are using bacon, roll the slice all over the folded fillet in order to cover it.

Now to ensure the birds don’t fall apart, you have to either pack them with some kitchen twine or insert a couple of toothpicks in each bird. Be sure to remove this stuff before eating.

Take a frying pan, pour in the olive oil. Stirfry the onion on medium heat, add a pinch of salt and chili pepper and let it simmer until the shallot is translucent. 

Now add the birds. Add a drizzle of oil if necessary.

Let the birds roast on one side for five minutes, then turn them on the other side. After another five minutes add the wine, lower the heat and let the birds simmer until the wine has evaporated, turning them once or twice.

Remove the twine or the toothpicks.


If you like polenta, it makes a perfect side dish.


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